Alex Massie

The Ashes: Post-War XIs

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Ahead of the Times revealing its post-war XIs, Norm has made his own selection. As you'd expect, they're pretty strong teams. It's a little depressing to realise that selecting a Greatest Post-1945 Australian side is much, much more difficult than doing the same for England. In fact I don't think I can disagree with any part of Norm's England XI:

1. Len Hutton, 2. Geoffrey Boycott, 3. Ken Barrington, 4. Denis Compton, 5. Peter May, 6. Ian Botham, 7. Alan Knott, 8. Jim Laker, 9. Fred Trueman, 10. Derek Underwood, 11. Brian Statham.

You could, mind you, make a case for Frank Tyson. Alec Bedser is also unfortunate to miss-out.

(Hammond is excluded because his post-war career was a sad and limited thing.)

As for the Australians, well, it's more difficult. For some reason Norm omits Keith Miller, leaving him with just four bowlers (perhaps this was an oversight?) This cannot stand and Nugget will bat at 6 in my team, displacing Steve Waugh from Norm's selection. And while Norm goes with Chappell and Border at 4 and 5 I'll select Ricky Ponting and Neil Harvey. With this batting line-up, talent will be enough and there should not be any great need for Border and Waugh to display their battling qualities. That leaves us with a side of:

1. Arthur Morris, 2. Bobby Simpson, 3. Donald Bradman, 4. Ricky Ponting, 5. Neil Harvey, 6. Keith Miller, 7. Adam Gilchrist, 8. Alan Davidson, 9. Shane Warne, 10. Dennis Lillee, 11. Glenn McGrath.

The other tough call is choosing between Alan Davidson and Ray Lindwall. Lindwall's pace or the variety brought to the attack by the left-handed Davidson? It's an impossible, no-lose situation but I think that, with Miller and Lillee already present, I'll go with Davidson.

Hutton will captain England and, since he never got the job he should have, let's let Shane Warne captain the Aussies.